Far from his 1997 documentary, Tantrums & Tiaras, Sir Elton John's latest visit to Scotland went without a hitch. His 65 years and entry into fatherhood left tantrums at home with the baby, though the tiaras were out in force.
Taking to Falkirk Stadium for the only Scottish date of his tour, the legend, one of the biggest selling artist of all time, and father of many of today's pop standards didn't keep the crowd waiting.
Opening with the wonderfully charismatic 2CELLOS, from Croatia, the stadium was drawn in with their contemporary yet classical approach to pop and rock hits. Building into a monstrous rendition of Highway To Hell, they were joined by a percussionist, which unexpectedly paved the yellow brick road for Sir Elton's sharp entrance.
With a quick wave from within his sparkling suit jacket, (shoulder pads thicker than the wearer's neck-check), Sir Elton jolted into Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting), bringing all the disco you need in one body. Unleashing his hot fingers on the piano, and pumping his fists in the air as though he'd scored on the pitch, the star remained effervescent, regardless of his years in the business.
With the stadium leaping to the music, rather than as a result of the cold, the reliable grooves from the versatile star and his impressive band of old-timers were complimented by the Croatian duo on strings, for an incredibly grand introduction to the almost two and a half hour spectacle.
Having recently been forced to cancel shows in Las Vegas as a result of ill health, Rocket Man himself was back firing on all cylinders as he accelerated through his hits, fuelled by his effortless piano skills. Gospel backing singers lifted the performance another notch, for a euphoric Tiny Dancer, which encouraged even the most shy of fans to holler along in their key of choice.
The party atmosphere continued, running into an exuberant Philadelphia Freedom which seemed to unleash new life and a whole catalogue of old dance moves from the crowd. Observing my own mother, she had certainly been harbouring those badass moves in a distant chamber from the 80s.
Sneaking into Candle In The Wind, the understated and emotion-tinged rendition had minimal accompaniment, allowing our Host With The Most's distinctive vocal to roam with higher impact on the crowd.
Throwing showbiz smiles at the audience, and hurtling off of his piano stool at any given opportunity to give them a thumbs up, although such a highly respected character, you can't help but also find Elton endearing, much like a tubby uncle. This is only when not marvelling at his vast body of work, and just how does he remember all of those piano notes without the sheet music?
I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues and Sacrifice kept the audience on their feet and chasseing around the pitch as they refilled their tea, or fuelled some inner fire with alcohol, in defence against the breezy night.
In fantastic form, although Sir Elton missed out any Lion King classics, he did wave frantically like a Disney character on parade between songs, and littered his set with more yeses than the Churchill dog.
Truly appreciative of his fans, he even found time for a quick roll around on the lid of his piano during The Bitch Is Back, which followed electrifying versions of Are You Ready For Love and I'm Still Standing. From his performance it can certainly be confirmed, that Sir Elton John knows how to throw a party.
After a mention of Neil Lennon and a personal thank you to Susan Boyle for her attendance - it turns out she's surreptitiously seated just a few rows away - the pitch was pretty much invaded by those who could still feel their limbs from the stands, to participate in a mass boogiewoogie to Crocodile Rock.
After signing as many autographs as he could before being ushered towards his piano for a humble Your Song, I'm not sure about the wherabouts of the bitch, but who needs that when Elton John is still standing strong.
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